Have you ever wondered how children feel when they move on to the next grade? It can’t be without its fair share of anxieties. Everything is new, everything changes, and human nature resists change. New friends, teachers, books, subjects, even a change in the classroom can be nerve racking for some children. Not to mention the children who are moving to a new country and culture after leaving what they know behind.
Moving on to the next stage of education, whether it is from pre- primary to primary or secondary to higher secondary, can prove to be particularly extremely daunting. As teachers, we can help to make this transition easier for our students and ourselves.
Liaise with the previous teacher
If the child is transitioning within the same institution, it is particularly easy to organise a meeting between the previous teacher and the teacher who will now have the child. This allows the previous teacher to share useful information that the new teacher can use in order to make the process easier. It could be simple things, which are not mentioned in the file (which will already have details about allergies, emergency contacts and etc.). Information such as a reading level or a certain phobia that the child may have, are important. Knowing relevant details like this will help you get a better understanding of the child.
A well- executed admission form
If a child is coming from another school or even country, studying the child’s file and having a well- formulated admission form, enquiring about pertinent details will be a big help.
Talk to parents before the kids come in to school. a teacher can motivate the parents into playing a vital and supporting role during the first days of their child’s settling down. In addition, you can communicate your own vision for your class thereby inculcating the all-famous teacher-parent-student triangle in all its might and glory.
Tell the students what to expect
Depending on the level of the students, express simply and clearly what they can expect during the session, what they may find different and make them feel safe and secure in their new environment. Take them on a tour of their new school. Show them the bathroom and water cooler. Discuss boundaries.
The first few minutes of interaction with your students are the ones in which they form an instant impression of you. In other words, bring your A-game, charm their socks off, the whole nine yards. If you are successful in winning their trust, you have won half the battle already in ensuring a wonderful year ahead. Talk with them on a one on one basis. Make them feel that you care. This is applicable to all age groups. The more respect and kindness you show, the more you will receive.
Unleash your own observation and use your analytical skills. Detect signs of detachment and sniff out your students’ weaknesses. Praise their achievements and pull them up when things don’t seem right.
Parents entrust us with the most precious things in their lives – their children and during the academic year, they become our children too. Young minds, like ours, have battles raging within. We need to be at the forefront. We need to understand and be compassionate. as teachers, we have the power.
By Rahima Jabeen